A goldsmith is a Metalworking who specializes in working with gold and other . Historically, goldsmiths also have made cutlery, platters, , decorative and serviceable utensils, ceremonial or religious items, and rarely using Kintsugi, but the rising prices of precious metals have curtailed the making of such items to a large degree.
Goldsmiths must be skilled in forming metal through filing, brazing, , forging, casting, and polishing metal. The trade has very often included jewellery-making skills, as well as the very similar skills of the silversmith. Traditionally, these skills had been passed along through , however, more recently jewellery arts schools specializing solely in teaching goldsmithing and a multitude of skills falling under the jewellery arts umbrella are available. Many universities and junior colleges also offer goldsmithing, silversmithing, and metal arts fabrication as a part of their fine arts curriculum.
At least in Europe, goldsmiths increasingly performed many of the functions now regarded as part of banking, especially providing custody of valuable items and currency exchange, though they were usually restrained from lending at interest, which was regarded as usury.
In medieval Europe goldsmiths were organized into and usually were one of the most important and wealthiest of the guilds in a city. The guild kept records of members and the marks they used on their products. These records, when they survive, are very useful to historians. Goldsmiths often acted as , since they dealt in gold and had sufficient security for the safe storage of valuable items. In the Middle Ages, goldsmithing normally included silversmithing as well, but the brass workers and workers in other normally were members of a separate guild, since the trades were not allowed to overlap. Many also were goldsmiths.
The Sunar caste is one of the oldest communities in goldsmithing in India, whose superb gold artworks were displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. In India, 'Vishwakarma' are the goldsmith caste.
The printmaking technique of engraving developed among goldsmiths in Germany around 1430, who had long used the technique on their metal pieces. The notable of the fifteenth century were either goldsmiths, such as Master E. S., or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer.
Because it is so soft, however, 24 karat gold is rarely used. It usually is to make it stronger and to create different colors; goldsmiths may have some skill in that process. The gold may be cast into some item then, usually with the lost wax casting process, or it may be used to fabricate the work directly in metal.
In the latter case, the goldsmith will use a variety of tools and machinery, including the rolling mill, the drawplate, and perhaps, and other forming tools to make the metal into shapes needed to build the intended piece. Then parts are fabricated through a wide variety of processes and assembled by brazing. It is a testament to the history and evolution of the trade that those skills have reached an extremely high level of attainment and skill over time. A fine goldsmith can and will work to a tolerance approaching that of precision machinery, but largely using only his eyes and hand tools. Quite often the goldsmith's job involves the making of mountings for , in which case they often are referred to as jewelers.
'Jeweller', however, is a term mostly reserved for a person who deals in jewellery (buys and sells) and not to be confused with a goldsmith, silversmith, gemologist, diamond cutter, and diamond setters. A 'jobbing jeweller' is the term for a jeweller who undertakes a small basic amount of jewellery repair and alteration.